A band playing the wrong venue can be a disaster. If your band is more of a rock’n’roll band and you decide to play a blues venue, venue regulars might not enjoy the show. Also, if your band plays too big or small of a venue there are going to be crowd issues. Choosing an appropriate venue for your band is a constant issue.
First, research venues. Most venues have websites or social media profiles that explain what type of musical acts the venue usually hosts. If the venue hosts a variety of musical acts across genres, you and your band can probably book a show there. However, if the venue more often than not has concerts for specific musical genres, you will need to make sure that the venue caters to your music.
Secondly, always ask friends in other bands for their recommendations. By the time you are booking your own gigs, you will most likely have played with other bands and befriended their members or their management team. Even if you regularly play with certain bands, chances are those bands have played their own shows in their own touring schedules, both locally and regionally. Asking them for advice might offer you good insight on what venues are appropriate for your band.
Third, look at gig resources websites. Gig resources websites help a band out by giving a resource guide to all types of venues. This is especially helpful if your band wants to tour, but none of you know what venues are the best to play. Good venues are often found in small towns that you may overlook. Gig guides can help you find unique locations that cater to the size of your audience or your musical genre.
Fourth, do not over-stretch yourself. Some bands may have the attitude that they would play any gig for any price. Although this sounds ideal, you might not be networking your band well with this approach. Playing a friend’s house on a Friday for little or no money when you could have invested time to book a big show on a Friday with some pay is a poor decision. A big show could network your music more than a small house party. It is fine to be available to play any gig, but do not play anywhere for any price all the time.
Finally, try to be realistic. Say your band is an upstate New York band and your dreams are to play a big gig at a popular place in New York City. However, all you have played is in and around the upstate region. If you are venturing into the City, you need to be realistic on what kind of venues you have to play based on your popularity. If you want to play a 1200 person music venue and you never played in New York City before, this might not be a wise choice. This does not only apply for space size, but also the popularity of the gig. Before the venue closed, one could argue CBGB was a quintessential New York City club to play. If you and the band only dream of playing CBGB, you could have your dreams dashed by an unenthusiastic crowd, a small crowd, or a crowd that hates your music. Also, any legendary music space changes overtime and might not be as emotionally charging playing as you thought.